By Retail Insider*
World’s Largest Sporting Goods Retailer ‘Decathlon’ to Open Ottawa Location: Value-priced French sporting goods retailer Decathlon opened its second suburban Montreal store last week after opening its first store at Mail Champlain in Brossard, just outside of Montreal, in April of 2018.
A location in downtown Montreal at the Eaton Centre will open in September, followed by a location in Ste-Foy (Quebec City) in the fall. Now we learn a store is on the way for Ottawa in the fall. The Ottawa store will be located at 1021 boulevard Saint-Laurent.
Decathlon stores are highly experiential and feature aisles to test bikes and skateboards, a climbing wall, badminton court, basketball court, putting green, a gym, and even a pool of water to test fishing rods and lures, as well as a mini-pool to try out paddle boards.
Decathlon designs, manufactures and distributes a wide range of sports-related equipment and accessories, with over 20 in-house ‘passion brands’ dedicated to different sports, each with its own design team. The company also utilizes customer feedback as part of its research and development and each year, Decathlon’s ‘SportsLab’ creates more than 2,800 new products.
Founded in France in 1976, Decathlon Group is the world’s largest sporting good retailer with nearly 1,500 stores in 39 countries (about 300 stores are in France). It employs more than 80,000 people and boasts annual revenue in excess of C$15 billion.
DSW Shutters ‘GRAIL’ Concept Store in Vancouver: In June of 2018, DSW, which recently rebranded as ‘Designer Brands Inc.’, opened a 3,100 square foot sneaker concept store called GRAIL at 2867 Granville Street on an upscale retail strip south of Vancouver’s downtown core.
The concept store offered global brands for sneaker fans and collectors alike. Some brands weren’t available elsewhere in North America. The space itself featured a state-of-the-art ultra hi-res LED ceiling and surround sound — a theatre-like experience that welcomes guests and sets the tone for an evolved retail experience.
The idea was to test out the concept before rolling out more storefronts. It’s unclear if the concept will be revived elsewhere, or scrapped — in March we reported that DSW Inc. had changed its name to ‘Designer Brands Inc.’ with plans to continue to expand its DSW, The Shoe Company and Shoe Warehouse banners in the Canadian market.
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Richemont Group Expands Presence in Vancouver’s ‘Luxury Zone’ with Montblanc and Vacheron Constantin: This week, Swiss accessories retailer Montblanc (known for its pricey writing instruments) opened a replacement storefront in downtown Vancouver, while Richemont’s watch brand Vacheron Constantin opened in adjacent spaces in the heart of the city’s ‘Luxury Zone’.
The 1055 Alberni Street retail space was most recently occupied by upscale multi brand women’s retailer Blubird, which last year relocated to a new space at 1108 Alberni Street (formerly occupied by Strellson). The space was split for the two luxury brands that replaced it.
Montblanc closed its storefront at 717 Burrard Street in the spring of 2018 in preparation for Hermes to relocate its Burrard Street premises — Hermes, which opens in a few months, will occupy two levels and more than 6,000 square feet. Montblanc opened its Burrard Street storefront in the spring of 2013.
Sources confirm that once Hermes relocates to the corner of Burrard Street and West Georgia Street, Cartier will commence construction to open a new storefront at 755 Burrard Street. In the 1990’s, the space was occupied by defunct Banff-based fashion and fur retailer Saitoh. Chanel and Celine also once operated boutiques at 755 Burrard Street, and Coach now occupies both spaces.
Last year, Richemont opened standalone units for Van Cleef & Arpels as well as Panerai and IWC Shaffhaussen on Alberni Street. The Van Cleef & Arpels store, spanning two floors, is the largest in North America for the brand.
Toronto-based Kotn Opens pop-up store in Montréal: Canadian basics-focused clothing brand, Kotn, has opened a pop-up store in Montréal at 65 Rue Saint Viateur East. The company opened its first brick and mortar store on Toronto’s Queen Street West in March 2017 and has since opened a second location in Vancouver.
This is Koton’s first foray into the Québec market; Montréalers can choose from Kotn’s selection of high-quality basics until May 14th, 2019. The Kotn story begins in 2015 when Mackenzie Yeates, Rami Helali, and Benjamin Sehl noticed a gap in the market: well-fitting and high-quality basics at an affordable price for daily wear.
A Kotn t-shirt is not your typical fast-fashion basic t-shirt – the brand has formed direct partnerships with Egyptian cotton farmers in the Nile River Delta. Part of the proceeds from Kotn’s sales go to help fund their charitable initiatives. The partnerships allow them to keep costs low while helping to revive a struggling agriculture business.
Giving back to the communities in which their materials are produced is important to the company. They have built schools to provide the children of their employees with safe, convenient and quality education and have made it a priority to ensure girls and young women receive the same opportunity as their male counterparts.
Christian Dior Opens Canada’s 1st Fragrance Boutique at Holt Renfrew Ogilvy: Montréal’s newly-merged Holt Renfrew Ogilvy, sure to be a powerhouse in the Canadian luxury retail market, has unveiled the first Maison Christian Dior fragrance boutique for the iconic fashion house. Founded in 1947, the parfumerie introduced their first fragrance: Miss Dior, which would go on to become a classic for Christian Dior.
The fragrance boutique is a new addition to the recently-renovated beauty floor at Holt Renfrew Ogilvy. The department features concessions for brands like: Hermès, Guerlain, Jo Malone, and Serge Lutens. Dior’s new fragrance boutique is inspired by the “Art of French Living”, and showcases a collection of luxury fragrance and home ancillaries developed by François Demachy, Dior’s Master Perfumer. Shoppers will also find candles, hand soaps and body crèmes available in 23 artisanal scents.
The beauty hall at Holt Renfrew Ogilvy spans 25,000 square feet; it is the largest beauty hall company-wide and is one of the largest in all of Canada. Holt Renfrew continues on with their $400 million revitalization project with the updates to Holt Renfrew Ogilvy and their Toronto Bloor Street store. The renovations at Holt Renfrew Ogilvy are expected to be complete sometime next year.
Goh Ballet Comes to Toronto’s Bayview Village – a First for a Mall in Canada: Vancouver’s premiere ballet academy, Goh Ballet, will soon open its first Toronto location at Bayview Village Shopping Centre. Chan Hon Goh, Director of Goh Ballet and former Principal Dancer of the National Ballet of Canada, has wanted to expand her academy to Toronto for quite some time and will now see that dream come true.
The ballet academy was founded by Goh’s parents in 1978 who were both principal dancers in Beijing’s National Ballet of China. Dancers who train at Goh Ballet often go on to pursue successful and prestigious careers in ballet; Goh’s academy has produced many current Principal Dancers at world-renowned companies.
Goh enlisted Toronto-based interior design and architecture studio, Batay-Csorba Architects to design the two-level, 7000 square foot studio. The space will feature a granite staircase that ascends to a light-filled reception area inspired by the classic tutu associated with ballet. Westbank acted as Goh’s development partner on this project. The combination of developer, designer, and dancer will be sure to create Toronto’s most en pointe studio.
The addition of a dance academy to the shopping centre is an interesting choice. Retail Insider continues to observe the trend of retail becoming more of an experience and places where shoppers and visitors are encouraged to spend more time. Goh Ballet will open their Bayview Village academy in the summer of 2019 and is a first of its kind in a Canadian mall, as far as we’re aware.
Rudsak Opens Beautiful Concept Store in Quebec City: Upscale Montreal-based fashion and outerwear brand Rudsak has opened an attractive concept store at Galeries de la Capitale in Quebec City. The relocated store, spanning nearly 1,600 square feet, opened last week.
The marble facade and dark interiors punctuated with light natural wood are similar to the store design of competitor Mackage, which is also opening stores in Canada as well as globally.
Last month, Rudsak opened its first store in the United States at the Hudson Yards in New York City. That location, as well as the new Quebec City location, indicate a new direction in Rudsak’s overall store design that was launched with a revamped unit at the Montreal Eaton Centre, according to local ear-to-the-ground reporter Maxime Frechette.
Rudsak has retained Oakmont Real Estate Services to handle its site selection across Canada under the direction of, Ben Labrecque, and the retailer seeks spaces in the 2,200 to 3,000 square foot range in busy areas such as shopping centres, open-air centres and on commercial high streets. This summer, Rudsak will open a unit at the McArthurGlen Designer Outlets in Vancouver.
Amazon Reports $900-Million in Online Sales for Canadian Small and Medium Businesses: An announcement released by Amazon Canada states that sales conducted on Amazon.ca by small and medium-sized businesses exceeded $900 million in 2018. The company also saw a 30% increase in year-over-year sales during the 2018 holiday period. Additionally, 45% of the small and medium-sized businesses were able to export their products to the US, Europe and globally by selling through Amazon.
The e-commerce titan is providing business with tools to connect with other entrepreneurs and customers worldwide to grow their success. Partnering with Amazon in this way comes with certain benefits like Fulfillment by Amazon which takes the guesswork out of managing storage, shipping, customer care, brand analytics, advertising and more.
These value-added services can help propel e-commerce startups to stardom at a lower cost and risk level than if the company were to take on the project on their own. In Canada, Amazon extended their free one-day delivery service to 13 additional locations across the country. The company has also opened a 113,000 square foot Toronto office, creating 600 new technology-related jobs and housing their 800 corporate employees.
J. Crew Closes Park Royal Village Storefront: US-based fashion retailer J. Crew has closed another store location in Canada as it slowly shuts its stores across the country, with only six full-priced stores remaining in metro Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. That’s about half the retailer’s Canadian store count about three years ago.
When it opened in the fall of 2015, Park Royal was J. Crew’s second-largest store in Canada with almost 7,100 square feet of space and was the first in the country to carry the brand’s children’s line. The store was located in the outdoor component of Park Royal South. The centre itself is highly successful and is one of Canada’s most productive shopping centres in terms of annual sales per square foot, according to Retail Council of Canada.
Over the past three years, J. Crew has closed six stores in Canada. A West Edmonton Mall unit shuttered several years ago, with sources saying sales tanked after a J. Crew outlet opened at South Edmonton Common. J. Crew subsequently closed its units at CF Fairview Mall in Toronto, CF Markville in Markham, CF Chinook Centre in Calgary, CF Rideau Centre in Ottawa and most recently in January, it’s largest Canadian unit at CF Toronto Eaton Centre.
J. Crew continues to operate stores on Bloor Street West in Toronto, Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto, CF Sherway Gardens in Toronto, Robson Street in Vancouver, CF Pacific Centre in Vancouver and at CF Market Mall in Calgary. The Yorkdale unit was the first in Canada when it opened there in August of 2011.
*With files from Julia Marchionda and Craig Patterson